Marriage is hard. As much as you want to believe it's all rainbows, butterflies and perfectly posed Instagram posts, it's not. A successful marriage takes dedication, hard work and the mindset that you're in it forever.
Marriages fall apart for so many different reasons. It's a heartbreaking process that no one should have to go through, but even if your marriage seems to be shattered into a million pieces, it can be salvaged.
When you feel your marriage is broken beyond repair, here are seven ways you can fix it (and make it better than it was before):
1. Realize you don't always have to put in equal work
A huge fight that couples have is who puts in more work. To save your marriage, get in the mindset that you don't always have to put forth equal effort, but you should always be trying your best. If you feel like your best is only 10 percent one day, your partner should be putting in 90 percent and you should do the same for them on their bad days. Marriage isn't a competition of who does more; it's a constant work in progress that takes two to be successful.
2. Stop criticizing and start appreciating
When you criticize every little thing your partner does, it's easy to start resenting them. The small things that used to kind of bug you turn into big things you can't stand. Instead, every time you want to criticize your spouse, thank them or give them a compliment. This will help you appreciate your partner and remind you what you love about them.
3. Reflect on why you got married in the first place
Tell your love story to each other, look back on wedding photos or read love letters you wrote each other before your marriage started to crumble. Going back to the reason you got married will help you remember the feelings you had toward your spouse. You'll remember why you wanted to marry them.
4. Understand that people change
You're right when you say your spouse isn't the person you married anymore, but you're not the person they married either. People grow and change constantly, and it's not too late to start that growth process together. If you've grown distant, pinpoint things you love about them now. Don't dwell on things they used to do or how it used to be, because those people are gone and that time has passed. Even if things have changed, chances are, your spouse is still pretty awesome.
This is a hard time in your marriage and you're both fragile. It's OK to address your problems, but don't put all the blame on your spouse. Speak your mind, but do so kindly. Listen to what your partner has to say and don't reply with harsh words or criticism. Tell your partner your needs and have them tell you theirs so you can both work on bettering yourselves for one another.
6. Go on a trip
There's nothing more therapeutic than going on a vacation together. Leave the kids at home and take a romantic weekend to reconnect and fall in love all over again. Research shows that couples who travel together are generally happier in their relationships and are more intimate with one another.
This sounds crazy, but hear me out. Go on a "first date" where you leave behind all of your struggles, worries and your cell phones to get to know each other again. Ask each other questions you haven't asked in a while, and give them all your attention for the night. This first date will remind you of why you fell in love and make you appreciate them as a person. You'll probably learn some new things about your spouse as well, which is always fun.
Marriage itself takes hard work but saving a marriage takes even more time and effort. There are certain circumstances, however, where you may be emotionally or physically abused. In that case, you should seek help and take the steps necessary to get into a safe environment.
In other cases, there are so many things you can do to salvage your broken marriage. Start with these seven ideas, find out what works for you and your spouse and help each other fall in love again. A marriage you have to work for will be more beautiful than you could have ever imagined.
Lindsey loves traveling and shopping, and her favorite place in the whole world is Disneyland. She also loves spending time with her family and cute husband. She is studying Professional and Technical Writing and is part of the content team for FamilyShare.